Healthy Markets initiative

Creating healthier food options for children

Obesity is one of the most pressing public health issues today – and Covid-19 has thrown it into the spotlight. The obesity crisis is being fuelled by the food options available to us. Products high in fat, sugar and salt flood the market, while healthy alternatives are often unaffordable or missing entirely. A handful of companies are responsible for the majority of these sales. 

The tides are turning. More regulation and growing consumer demand for healthier options mean supermarkets and food manufacturers are at risk – but they can also be at the forefront for change. Investors have a vital role to play. 

ShareAction’s Healthy Markets initiative brings together investors to ask food and drink companies to play their part in building a healthier population.

The Healthy Market initiative helps investors to:

COLLABORATE

By joining the coalition investors collectively engage companies to promote public health and sustainable growth

LEARN

Using detailed research and topical briefings investors can increase their knowledge and understanding.

ADVOCATE

Through company AGMs, letters and roundtables, investors can engage companies and ensure health and nutrition is on the agenda.

Why should investors care about obesity?

In the UK, two in three adults and one in three children are now obese or overweight. This epidemic is costing the NHS £6.1 billion each year, and the wider economy £54 billion in reduced productivity and economic growth.

Our environments have a huge impact on our health, and food and drink manufacturers and retailers play a significant role in shaping our diets. In the UK, two of every three pounds spent on food to be eaten in the home, is in supermarkets. Over half of the grocery market is made up of supermarkets’ own brand products.

The sector is highly concentrated around just a handful of companies – and is therefore at substantial risk if it does not adapt to increasing public awareness, growing demand for healthy foods, and significant new government interventions. Companies that do not already have plans and targets to address these growing demands will be at a significant disadvantage. Compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need for investors and companies to take responsibility on these issues.

ShareAction’s Healthy Markets campaign is funded by Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity

“We’re excited to explore with  ShareAction  how encouraging responsible investment can help improve the availability of healthier options for everyone.”

Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive, Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity

Latest resources

We partner with the Access to Nutrition Initiative to rate and track the contribution that major food companies in the UK are having in driving the uptake of healthy diets. We then combine this data with our own research and analysis to provide investors with information and recommendations to help drive their engagement with these companies. 

A Healthy Investment

What is the role of food and drink manufacturers in fighting obesity? We explore why it is vital these companies – and those who invest in them – prioritise health and what options are available to them to increase transparency and drive improvements. 

Healthy Competition

The UK’s food retail sector is highly concentrated – and is therefore at risk if it fails to adapt to increasing regulation and demand for healthier products. Using the Access to Nutrition Initiative’s (ATNI) Spotlight report, we explore how UK’s major retailers are tackling healthy eating.

Hitting the Sweet Spot

Food and drink manufacturers and retailers play a significant role in shaping people’s diets. Here we explore the risks that obesity poses to investment portfolios and the opportunities for investor action on this critical public health issue.

Join the coalition 

Fill out the below form, and one of our team will get in touch with more information about how you could become an investor coalition member. For any other questions, you can also email: louisa.hodge@shareaction.org.

See more of ShareAction’s investor coalitions